Thursday afternoon’s matchup with the Oakland Athletics was the perfect opportunity for the Los Angeles Angels to secure their first home series win since June. At home against one of the worst teams in baseball, the recipe for success was blatantly obvious.
Instead, the Angels not only walked away with a series loss, but they did so in grand fashion, making MLB history in the process. Over the course of nine innings, the Angels hit seven solo home runs. Two from Shohei Ohtani, and one each from Kurt Suzuki, Jo Adell, Jared Walsh, Taylor Ward, and even Mickey Moniak.
But starting pitcher Janson Junk allowed six earned runs in 2.1 innings and Touki Toussaint allowed another two in his stint, giving the Athletics the eight runs they needed for an 8-7 victory in Anaheim.
Interim manager Phil Nevin discussed the likelihood — or lack thereof — of such an outcome and the team’s overall performance, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:
“I thought we swung it pretty good,” said interim manager Phil Nevin. “We had seven solos and two other hits. I’ve definitely never seen that. I was thinking about that in the dugout. So we swung it good, and they say solo home runs won’t beat you, but you feel like if you hit seven you might, but it didn’t work out for us.”
Seven solo home runs put the Angels in the history books several times. Thursday’s outing set the record for most runs in a game exclusively via solo home runs, breaking the previous record of six. They also became the sixth team to hit seven solo home runs in a game, but only the second to lose that game.
It was the sixth time in MLB history a team had seven home runs of any kind in a game and lost. And Jared Walsh attempted to spin this as a positive moment for the club.
“When you hit seven home runs in a game, it’s a positive thing,” said Jared Walsh, who went deep in the sixth. “We would’ve liked to get the win, but the offense, we’ve been needing to pick it up, so it’s a positive sign.”
Walsh makes a strong point that, even in a losing effort, seeing the offense get rolling in any way is a good sign. The Angels offense has been among the worst in baseball for over two months, and seven home runs can certainly act as a jolt of energy.
Also, seeing Walsh, Adell, Ward, and Moniak hit home runs is another positive sign, as all four had been struggling mightily in recent weeks. Perhaps this is the start of a new-look Angels offense in the final months of the regular season.
Nevin hoping Moniak can start fresh with Angels
Sometimes, a change of scenery is all a player needs to turn their career around. This is exactly what Nevin hopes will be the case for Moniak, who has raked in the Minor Leagues but failed to put things together with the Philadelphia Phillies.